1. Psychic Services Market Valued at $2B
In a 4.2T self-care and wellness market, horoscopes, sage and on-demand readings have suddenly bewitched the nation. Sanctuary Ventures, the digital media company focused on mystical services for millennials, is feeding into the $2B mystical and psychic services market by rolling out their astrological reading app, Sanctuary Astrology. For $20/month, you can deep dive into the cosmos with a weekly live and on-demand psychic reading from a professional Sanctuary astrologer. However, if you’re only interested in finding out what kind of day you’re going to have, daily horoscopes are free.
This launch is “part of the broader wellness story that has been happening for the last few years,” which includes tarot, Reiki energy healing, and “everything we have seen with the rise of the meditation app,” said Sanctuary co-founder and CEO Ross Clark. 35% of millennials are soul searching for something that, according to Clark, “helps them understand both themselves and a way of filtering and working through all the chaos in the world.”
(Source: Bloomberg, The Hustle)
2. Apple’s Hosting a Big Event
Next Monday (March 25), Apple is hosting a big event. They are speculated to introduce their long-rumored video service and news-subscription platform. In their quarterly earnings report, iPhone sales dropped by 15% during the holidays and they expect only 16% of iPhones to be upgraded this year, taking a huge bite out of their revenue apple. How will their video services rival those like Hulu and Netflix? The main focus is on Apple original shows. Having spent billions of dollars on content last year, they are in talks to partner with popular media companies, such as CBS, Showtime, HBO, and Starz. They have also recruited big names to their platform—Steven Spielberg is producing a story series, J.J. Abrams is set to develop two news shows, and even Oprah has been recruited in a multi-year deal. However, some say the service will be nothing like Netflix, as Apple’s plan is to offer channel subscriptions through a more TV-centric approach, such as bundling TV shows together for one price. For the speculated news-subscription platform, it is being compared to a ‘Netflix for news.’ Users will be able to subscribe to a bundle of newspapers and magazines for a flat monthly fee.
More to come next week.
Take a look at Apple’s Streaming Service: What to Expect here.
(Source: Business Insider)
3. Airbnb’s War with Local Governments
Palm Beach County, Florida passed an ordinance last year stating short-term rental companies must pay a 6% occupancy tax on visits arranged through their sites. What did Airbnb have to say? See you in court. “We knew we were going to get sued,” said Palm Beach County tax collector Anne Gannon. “That’s what they do all over the country. It’s their mode of operation.” Airbnb is valued at $31B, the country’s second most valuable startup, after Uber. They have more than 6M homes across 191 countries, outnumbering six hotel chains combined. Airbnb has become an ecosystem with startups piggybacking onto their success, such as Guesty, a startup for property management software for companies like Airbnb, that raised $35M yesterday to help fund their growth. Refusing to be seen as a lodging provider but rather a liaison between hosts and guests, Airbnb has been “battling local officials over requests to collect occupancy taxes and ensure that the properties listed on its site comply with zoning and safety rules.” Over the past 5 months, nearly $1M has been spent by Airbnb to overturn regulations. Airbnb is fighting “a city-by-city, block-by-block guerrilla war,” said Ulrik Binzer, CEO of Host Compliance. “They need to essentially fight every one of these battles like it is the most important battle they have.” Airbnb believes these regulations are “unconstitutional and technologically unfeasible.”
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